I have a friend named Derren who is quite a bit (10 years younger than I). We met through Match.com. He is one of the better experiences I've had with the service. He loves to dance as much as I do and we find ourselves out dancing together and pretty much enjoying life. Weeks may go by without us speaking but he always calls to check on me to see how I am doing. He suffers from depression and anxiety. He has every reason to and sometimes I feel that I don't have cause at all after hearing his story which I will share with you.
When I first met Derren, he told me that he was a West Point graduate in Marine Engineering. I was very impressed with this but some things didn't add up. He appeared to be challenged in many areas. He spoke slowly and sometimes I'd start talking when I thought he was finished speaking and he'd say "Sharlene! I wasn't finished!" and I'd say "Well, Derren, you were silent for 20 minutes so I thought you were finished!" We laughed about this later when he told me his story.
He had a wonderful promising career ahead of him when he fell 30 feet to a concrete slab while working in Metairie Louisiana. He even laughs and says as he was falling all he remembers thinking is "Shit, this is going to hurt!". He was fortunate to be near a city with one of the best doctors for the trauma he endured. He was in a coma for two weeks. He fell on the right side which caused some hearing loss. I joke with him about having to walk on his left side so he can hear me and I know he's not interested in what I am saying when he makes me get on his right side.
There was not a part of his body unbroken but he survived and had to relearn everything he ever knew. Simple things like learning what a spoon or fork was. He knew nothing. His social skills are limited but he is adorable. Socially, he is 10 years old and this gets him in trouble with the women because he tends to do what 10 year olds do when they like someone. Hounds them and makes a nuisance of himself. He did this with me at first but him and I have become such good friends that I know how to tell him when enough is enough. The greatest thing about him is his heart. It's so full of love that you can see it wanting to burst.
Derren went back to college and learned a new trade because engineering was too much of a challenge for him after his accident. He accepts all of this but he gets depressed a lot because he had a lot of mental trauma from his accident. He is always seeking to improve himself and he is truly an inspiration to me.
Derren always seems to sense when I am down and chooses that opportunity to call me. Hecalled me last night with a new program he has found on depression and anxiety. He is going to share it with me since he knows I can't afford to buy it. This morning I got my first email from him summarizing some of the points he has learned. He is such a sweetie!
Here is his email to me and he actually typed the whole thing for me:
Some of what I'm reading with that program.
Week 1. flash cards
I can’t change the past.
I can change my attitude.
I can change my present.
This condition is temporary.
Knowledge is power.
I am intelligent, creative and capable.
I am open to learning new skills.
I am proud of myself for the changes I am making this week.
It is just anxiety.
I can’t control the wind, but I can control my sails.
1. Notice personality traits that encourage anxiety.
2. Begin to appreciate the positive side of our personality.
3. You can change the way you think.
4. Begin making behavior changes.
5. Begin journaling.
6. Slow down in all ways.
7. Begin an exercise routine and reduce caffeine.
8. Recovery is a gradual PROCESS.
9. Use relaxation audio session three times daily.
10. Listen to your inner dialogue. Respectful? Kind?
Your history does not have to be your future.
Some things I underlined
There are certain inner traits that seem to smooth the path of happiness. People with high self-esteem tend to be happy people. Second, if one feels in control of ones' life, one is much more likely to be contented. Having an optimistic view of life is essential to feeling happy. Positive people draw positives into there lives; the opposite is also true. "happines is an inside job"
I have heard it suggested that "acting as if" is a great strategy; I firmly believe this.
Research proves that a smile can change our brain chemistry. A smile encourages the production of endorphins, which leads to a feeling of overall well-being. We have more control than we realize: we can change our state of mind. Of course, I am not suggesting that we deny our feelings. I am encouraging you to take charge, know your power and not get stuck.
summarizing: laughter is a painkiller. laughter is great for us. Also love of people. If you find your fellow man/woman interesting and basically enjoy being around others, lead a socially involved life, are outgoing, with a diverse group of friends, you would probably classify yourself as happy.
so: Smile and laugh often. it's very good for me. Be optimistic.
__ That is part of the program. The fact that WE/ I control my feelings, not someone else is powerful. I know this and it doesn't mean much when I'm down cause I can't control the emotions. But when I start to feel better and get control of my emotions, it helps to get more control. That's what's on my mind now. I went take a walk this morning.
Also, things are slow at work today. Maybe we can do a late lunch. I'll buy. If not, we'll shoot for next time.